Two missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) were killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident while riding their bikes in Donna, Texas. Elder Trevor R. Strong, and Elder Derek Jason Walker were killed. Elder Strong had extended his mission and only had about 3 weeks left before he was coming home from his mission. The two missionaries were faithfully serving the Lord and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the McAllen, Texas Mission . Elder Russel M. Nelson, an apostle of Jesus Christ for the Church, was in attendance at Elder Strong’s funeral. Elder Nelson said that Elder Walker “has been transferred — he is still a missionary.” He spoke words of comfort to the family.
For Elder Strong, missionary work continues on the other side of the veil, Elder Nelson said. Still, the Lord understands the pain of those mourning the loss of Elder Strong. “Our tears testify of our love for this wonderful, exemplary elder,” Elder Nelson said. “Your Redeemer knows exactly how you feel.”
Although Elder Strong was killed a week after he was originally scheduled to return home from his mission, Elder Nelson urged the Strong family to “not torture yourself with ‘what if’ questions.”
“To get through this,” he said, “we need to couple forgiveness with faith … be faithful … live our religion … and one day you will see Trevor as he is: a brother, a saint, and a son of the living God.”
The knowledge that death is not the end of this life, and that families can be united together in the next life, gave both families of the tragedy much comfort. Elder Strong’s oldest brother David Strong said, “Because of our Heavenly Father’s plan, we haven’t lost anything. It will be just a little while longer before we see Trevor again. But we know where he is, and what he is doing.” Mormons believe that through Jesus Christ and His gospel, we all will be resurrected and have the opportunity to live with our families again in the next life in an eternal relationship. This doctrine brings peace to many saints who mourn. It is a message that Mormons wish to share with all the world.
Elder Walker’s funeral was on the same day in Fairfield, Idaho. Again the spirit of the funeral was focused on the hope of God’s plan of happiness for all of us. Elder Cardon a member of theSeventy, which is a group Mormon leaders who oversee different areas of the Church in the world, expressed love and appreciation for the plan of salvation of our Heavenly Father that allows families to be together again. Elder Walker’s father:
expressed his gratitude for all the people who had reached out to his family. “There are not words enough to express the peace that I feel,” he said. “We know that you grieve with us, but we also want you to rejoice with us.”
He said that there was peace in knowing his son had given his life while doing God’s work. “We know he was doing what he was supposed to be doing, where he was supposed to be doing it, in the way that it was supposed to be done,” he said.
For a full report on this story, please visit Deseret News.
Please visit the Mormon news official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read the Church’s statement on the deaths of the missionaries.